Quel giornale ha chiesto chiarimenti direttamente al Landkreis Leipzig. Büro des Landrats – Pressesprecherin. Stauffenbergstr.4. 04552 Borna.
Riportiamo in fotocopia la relativa risposta. Riamrchiamo il passo:
«Allgemein ist jedoch zu sagen, dass die Bescheide die vom Landratsamt Landkreis Leipzig in Angelegenheiten des Asylbewerberleistungsgesetzes (AsylbLG) erstellt werden, in ihrer äußeren Erscheinung dem abgebildeten Schriftstück entsprechen.»
«In linea di massima, tuttavia, va detto che le comunicazioni dell’ufficio distrettuale del distretto di Lipsia in materia di diritto d’asilo (AsylbLG) corrispondono al documento illustrato.»
Questa che segue è la traduzione automatica effettuata con Deepl.
…. apprezziamo molto il vostro lavoro, ma rispettiamo anche la protezione dei dati.
L’ ufficio dell’ amministrazione distrettuale del distretto di Lipsia non è autorizzato a prendere posizione sulla questione se le foto con i documenti illustrati che circolano nei social media siano vere e proprie. Questa dichiarazione è coperta dalla protezione dei dati sociali.
L’ Ufficio non ha nemmeno diffuso tale lettera. Pertanto, come misura precauzionale, l’ avviso urgente: Si prega di rispettare la protezione dei dati: I nomi, le date di nascita e anche l’ indirizzo esatto non può essere ulteriormente distribuito!
In linea di massima, tuttavia, va detto che le comunicazioni dell’ufficio distrettuale del distretto di Lipsia in materia di diritto d’asilo (AsylbLG) corrispondono al documento illustrato.
Le decisioni dell’ Ufficio sono strutturate in modo tale che nei calcoli sia indicato un importo totale. Ciò non corrisponde necessariamente all’ importo del rimborso.
Ad esempio, il costo dell’ alloggio di una famiglia di dieci persone può superare i 4.000 euro al mese.
Ciò include già tutti i costi aggiuntivi, simili a quelli di una residenza studentesca o di un altro alloggio ammobiliato. Tale somma non viene versata alla famiglia, l’ importo viene dedotto dall’ importo totale indicato.
Tuttavia, sarebbe stato versato solo un importo molto inferiore. Ciò corrisponde al tasso di previdenza sociale generalmente noto.
Per orientamento di massima:
Una famiglia rifugiata, che rientra nella cerchia legale ai sensi del § 2 AsylbLG, riceve prestazioni analoghe a quelle della SGB XII. In una costellazione familiare con 10 persone, si può ipotizzare una media di 300 euro per persona. I dati esatti sono disponibili al pubblico.
Together, we are building a SAFE, STRONG, and PROUD America.
We want every American to know the dignity of a hard day’s work; we want every child to be safe in their home at night, and we want every citizen to be proud of this land that we love.
Just as I promised the American People from this podium 11 months ago, we enacted the biggest tax cuts and reform in American history.
Our massive tax cuts provide tremendous relief for the Middle Class and small businesses.
Since we passed tax cuts, roughly 3 million workers have already gotten tax cut bonuses – many of them thousands of dollars per worker.
This is our New American Moment. There has never been a better time to start living the American dream.
Tonight, I want to talk about what kind of future we are going to have, and what kind of nation we are going to be. All of us, together, as one team, one people, and one American family.
Americans love their country. And they deserve a government that shows them the same love and loyalty in return.
For the last year we have sought to restore the bonds of trust between our citizens and their government.
In our drive to make Washington accountable, we have eliminated more regulations in our first year than any administration in history.
We have ENDED the war on American Energy – and we have ENDED the War on CLEAN COAL. We are now an exporter of energy to the world.
America has also finally turned the page on decades of unfair trade deals that sacrificed our prosperity and shipped away our companies, our jobs and our nation’s wealth.
America is a nation of builders. We built the Empire State Building in just one year – isn’t it a disgrace that it can now take ten years just to get a permit approved for a simple road?
I am asking both parties to come together to give us the safe, fast, reliable, and modern infrastructure our economy needs and our people deserve.
Struggling communities, especially immigrant communities, will also be helped by immigration policies that focus on the best interests of American Workers and American Families.
So tonight I am extending an open hand to work with members of both parties, Democrats and Republicans, to protect our citizens, of every background, color, and creed.
As we rebuild America’s strength and confidence at home, we are also restoring our strength and standing abroad.
Last year I pledged that we would work with our allies to extinguish ISIS from the face of the earth. One year later, I’m proud to report that the coalition to defeat ISIS has liberated almost 100 percent of the territory once held by these killers in Iraq and Syria. But there is much more work to be done. We will continue our fight until ISIS is defeated.
Past experience has taught us that complacency and concessions only invite aggression and provocation. I will not repeat the mistakes of the past Administrations that got us into this dangerous position.
reso pubblico il 19 di gennaio dal Russian International Affairs Council.
* * * * * * *
«And I will never forget that, just like I will never forget the state in which this country was in the early 1990s.»
«The Constitution of the United States and the electoral legislation are structured in such a way that more electors can vote for a candidate who is backed by fewer voters. And such situations do occur in the history of the United States. …. The other thing is that I am deeply convinced that no interference from the outside, in any country, even a small one, let alone in such a vast and great power as the United States, can influence the final outcome of the elections. It is not possible. Ever.»
«It does not sound like justification. It sounds like a statement of fact»
«Listen, his boss is the foreign minister. Do you think I have the time to talk to our ambassadors all over the world every day? This is nonsense»
«And virtually every person we have met on the street says what they respect about you is they feel that you have returned dignity to Russia, that you’ve returned Russia to a place of respect.»
* * * * * * *
«The common view in Moscow is that Trump had been overrated, that U.S.-Russian relations did not have a chance, that the Deep State is simply too powerful for any President to turn around, and that the U.S. establishment is genetically Russo-phobic»
On the sidelines of the St Petersburg International Economic Forum, Vladimir Putin answered questions from NBC anchor Megyn Kelly.
Megyn Kelly: President Putin, you have repeatedly and passionately denied that Russia was behind the interference with our American presidential election, including on stage at the St Petersburg International Economic Forum.
But as you know, the consensus view in the United States is that you did. That’s what the 17 intelligence agencies concluded and that’s what the Republicans and the Democrats on the Congressional oversight committees who have seen the classified report have said. Are they all lying?
President of Russia Vladimir Putin: They have been misled and they are not analysing the information in its entirety. I have not once seen any direct proof of Russia’s interference in the presidential election in the USA.
We have talked about it with former president Obama and with several other officials. No one ever showed me any direct evidence.
When we spoke with President Obama about that, you know, you should probably better ask him about it – I think he will tell you that he, too, is confident of it. But when he and I talked I saw that he, too, started having doubts. At any rate, that’s how I saw it.
I have already told you, and I can say it again, that today’s technology is such that the final address can be masked and camouflaged to an extent that no one will be able to understand the origin of that address. And, vice versa, it is possible to set up any entity or any individual that everyone will think that they are the exact source of that attack.
Modern technology is very sophisticated and subtle and allows this to be done. And when we realize that we will get rid of all the illusions. That’s one thing. The other thing is that I am deeply convinced that no interference from the outside, in any country, even a small one, let alone in such a vast and great power as the United States, can influence the final outcome of the elections. It is not possible. Ever.
Megyn Kelly: But the other side says is it was only 70,000 votes that won Trump the election, and therefore influencing 70,000 people might not have been that hard.
Vladimir Putin: The Constitution of the United States and the electoral legislation are structured in such a way that more electors can vote for a candidate who is backed by fewer voters. And such situations do occur in the history of the United States. True, isn’t it?
Therefore, if we were to discuss some kind of political and social justice, then probably that electoral legislation needs to be changed and bring a situation where the head of state would be elected by direct secret ballot and so there will be direct tabulation of votes that can be easily monitored. That’s all there is to it. And there will be no need for those who have lost the elections to point fingers and blame their troubles on anybody.
Now, if we turn this page over, I will tell you something that you most likely know about. I don’t want to offend anyone, but the United States, everywhere, all over the world, is actively interfering in electoral campaigns in other countries. Is this really news to you?
Just talk to people but in such a way (to the extent it is possible for you) so as to convince them that you’re not going to make it public. Point your finger to any spot on the world’s map, everywhere you’ll hear complaints that American officials interfere in their political domestic processes.
Therefore, if someone, and I am not saying that it’s us (we did not interfere), if anybody does influence in some way or attempts to influence or somehow participates in these processes, then the United States has nothing to be offended by. Who is talking? Who is taking offense that we are interfering? You yourselves interfere all the time.
Megyn Kelly: That sounds like a justification.
Vladimir Putin: It does not sound like justification. It sounds like a statement of fact. Each action invites appropriate counteraction, but, again, we don’t need to do that because I did not tell you this without a reason, both you personally and other members of the media, recently I was in France and I said the same things.
Presidents come and go, and even parties come to and away from power. But the main policy tack does not change. So by and large we don’t care who will be at the helm in the United States. We have a rough idea of what is going to happen. And in this regard, even if we wanted to it wouldn’t make any sense for us to interfere.
Megyn Kelly: You had said for months that Russia had nothing to do with the interference of the American election, and then this week you floated the idea of patriotic hackers doing it. Why the change and why now?
Vladimir Putin: It’s just that the French journalists asked me about those hackers, and just like I told them, I can tell you, that hackers may be anywhere. They may be in Russia, in Asia, in America, in Latin America. There may be hackers, by the way, in the United States who very craftily and professionally passed the buck to Russia. Can’t you imagine such a scenario? In the middle of an internal political fight, it was convenient for them, whatever the reason, to put out that information. And put it out they did. And, doing it, they made a reference to Russia. Can’t you imagine it happening? I can. Let us recall the assassination of President Kennedy.
There is a theory that Kennedy’s assassination was arranged by the United States special services. If this theory is correct, and one cannot rule it out, so what can be easier in today’s context, being able to rely on the entire technical capabilities available to special services than to organise some kind of attacks in the appropriate manner while making a reference to Russia in the process. Now, the candidate for the Democratic Party, is this candidate universally beloved in the United States? Was it such a popular person? That candidate, too, had political opponents and rivals.
Megyn Kelly: Let’s move on. A special counsel has been appointed to investigate contacts between your government and the Trump campaign. You have said that your ambassador Kislyak was just doing his job. Right? So, what exactly was discussed in those meetings?
Vladimir Putin: There were no sessions. You see, there were no sessions. When I saw that my jaw dropped.
Megyn Kelly: No meetings between Ambassador Kislyak and anybody from the Trump campaign?
Vladimir Putin: No clue. I am telling you honestly. I don’t know. That’s an ambassador’s every day, routine work. Do you think, an ambassador from any place in the world or from the US reports to me daily as to whom he meets with and what they discuss? It’s just absurd. Do you even understand what you are asking me?
Megyn Kelly: Well, you’re his boss.
Vladimir Putin: Listen, his boss is the foreign minister. Do you think I have the time to talk to our ambassadors all over the world every day? This is nonsense. Don’t you understand that this is just some kind of nonsense. I don’t even know with whom he met there. Had there been something out of the ordinary, something remarkable he of course would have advised the minister and the minister would have informed me. Nothing of that happened.
Megyn Kelly: Since it happened have you gone back to speak with the ambassador about what was in those discussions he had with Jared Kushner, with General Michael Flynn, with anybody else from the Trump campaign?
Vladimir Putin: No, I haven’t.
Megyn Kelly: Aren’t you interested?
Vladimir Putin: No. Because if there had been something meaningful he would have made a report to the minister, and the minister would have made a report to me. There weren’t even any reports. Just every day, routine work that doesn’t mean anything that may not even have any prospects.
It’s just that someone decided to find fault with it and, you know, select it as a line of attack against the current President. This isn’t for us to get into, these are your domestic political squabbles. So you deal with them. Nothing to talk about.
There was not even a specific discussion of sanctions or something else. I just find it amazing how you created a sensation where there wasn’t anything at all. And proceeded to turn that sensation into a tool for fighting the sitting president. You know, you’re just very resourceful people there, well done, probably your lives there are boring.
Megyn Kelly: I am sure you have heard by now that one of the things they are looking into is the fact that Jared Kushner, the president’s son-in-law, reportedly discussed with Ambassador Kislyak in December establishing a back channel for communications between the Trump campaign and the Russian government. And the suggestion was, by Mr Kushner, that they could do this at a Russian embassy or a Russian consulate. That they could use Russia’s communications gear to make those communications happen so that the United States intelligence service could not hear. Does that strike you as a good idea?
Vladimir Putin: Russia had no channels of communication with neither campaign, the campaigns of the US Presidential candidates. None whatsoever. Russia did not set up and did not have any channels with anyone. There may have been official contacts with the campaigns of all the candidates, which is a standard diplomatic practice.
Megyn Kelly: This is a proposal, a proposal by Mr Kushner.
Vladimir Putin: I am not aware of such a proposal. No such proposal ever reached me.
Megyn Kelly: Did you know General Michael Flynn? He came over here for a dinner a photo of which has been widely circulated in the American media. What was the nature of your relationship with him?
Vladimir Putin: You and I, we have a much closer relationship than with Mr Flynn. You and I met up yesterday evening. You and I have worked all day together. We are meeting yet again at this moment. When I came to the event at our company, Russia Today, and sat down at the table, next to me there was a gentleman, and someone else was sitting down on my other side.
I made a speech, then we talked about something else, then I got up and left. Afterwards, I was told, ”You know, that American gentleman, he used to do this before, used to work in the special services. And now he does this.“ ”Great,“ I said, ”Are you working with him somehow?“ “No, we just invited him as a guest, one of the guests.” And I replied: “Well, good for you!” And that’s it.
I almost did not talk to him. I said hello, we sat next to each other, then I said goodbye and left. This sums up my entire acquaintanceship with Mr Flynn. If Mr Flynn and I had this kind of interaction, while you and I, we have spent an entire day together, and Mr Flynn was fired from his job, you then should be arrested and put in jail.
Megyn Kelly: Many Americans hear the name, Vladimir Putin. And they think, ”He runs a country full of corruption, a country in which journalists, who are too critical, could wind up murdered, a country in which dissidents could wind up in jail or worse.“ To people who believe that, what is your message?
Vladimir Putin: I want to say that Russia is developing along a democratic path, this is without question so. No one should have any doubts about that. The fact that, amidst political rivalry and some other domestic developments, we see things happen here that are typical of other countries, I do not see anything unusual in it.
We have rallies, opposition rallies. And people here have the right to express their point of view. However, if people, while expressing their views, break the current legislation, the effective law in place, then of course, the law enforcement agencies try to restore order.
I am calling your attention to something that I discussed recently when on a trip to France and in my discussions with other European colleagues. Our police force, fortunately, so far, do not use batons, tear gas or any other extreme measures of instilling order, something that we often see in other countries, including in the United States.
Speaking of opposition, let us recall the movement Occupy Wall Street. Where is it now? The law enforcement agencies and special services in the US have taken it apart, into little pieces, and have dissolved it. I’m not asking you about how things stand in terms of democracy in the United States. Especially so that the electoral legislation is far from being perfect in the US. Why do you believe you are entitled to put such questions to us and, mind you, do it all the time, to moralize and to teach us how we should live?
We are ready to listen to our partners, ready to listen to appraisals and assessments when it is done in a friendly manner, in order to establish contacts and create a common atmosphere and dedicate ourselves to shared values. But we absolutely will not accept when such things are used as a tool of political struggle. I want everybody to know that. This is our message.
Megyn Kelly: There have been questions in America about Donald Trump’s finances. He hasn’t released his tax returns. There have been questions about this secret Russian dossier, which he says is fake, but which purports to have blackmail information in it generated by the Russians. There have been questions about the communications between the Kremlin and the Trump campaign, all of which has Americans asking, ”Do you have something damage on our president?“
Vladimir Putin: Well, this is just another piece of nonsense. Where would we get any information about him? Did we have some kind of special relationship with him. There was no relationship whatsoever. Yes, he visited Moscow in his day. But, you know, I never met him.
Many Americans come here. There are representatives of 100 companies from the US, who have come to Russia. Do you think I have met each and every representative of those American companies? You probably saw me walk into the conference hall, where our colleagues were sitting. I consider them all to be our friends. They are all working in Russia and many of them have been doing it for many years. They are investors. They are the CEOs of major US companies. They are interested in joint work. And that’s great! And we will welcome each and every one of them. And we will consider each of them our friend.
And we will help them implement their plans in Russia and will try to steer things in a direction so that they can work here successfully and make a profit.
And should they all be arrested for it afterwards? Have you lost your minds there or something? What about the freedom of economy? What about human rights? Do you think we are gathering dirt on all of them now? Are you all right in the head, all of you there?
Megyn Kelly: Last question. We have been here in St Petersburg for about a week now. And virtually every person we have met on the street says what they respect about you is they feel that you have returned dignity to Russia, that you’ve returned Russia to a place of respect. You’ve been in the leadership of this country for 17 years now. Has it taken any sort of personal toll on you?
Vladimir Putin: I hope not. Do you know what I feel? I feel this live, direct connection to this land, to its history, to this country. You have said that you have been in St Petersburg for several days. Yesterday, I had a conversation with Indian Prime Minister. He had visited the Piskarevskoye Memorial Cemetery, where almost 400,000 residents of Leningrad were buried, most of them civilians. They died during the siege of Leningrad. They starved to death. And buried in one of those graves is my older brother whom I have never seen. And I will never forget that, just like I will never forget the state in which this country was in the early 1990s.
You and I have had a debate today in the course of our conversation. However, in this country, since 2000 – and we have many problems, and recently even the poverty threshold has become a little worse than we planned – the situation will recover, I am confident of that, and yet our population’s real wages have grown manifold. And so have pensions.
Our economy has become completely different, on the whole. The size has changed. The economy has almost doubled in size. And the quality is changing, not as fast as we would like it to, but the structure is changing.
Our Armed Forces are completely different today from what they were, say 15 years ago or so.
All of this, including our great history, great culture, all of this, not just what we see today, is what makes the vast majority of Russia’s citizens feel proud for their country.
At the end of 2016, both the political and expert communities in Russia appeared to be very pessimistic about the future of the world order in general, and the about the future of the West in particular. Indeed, the year had turned out to be an annus horribilis in many ways; numerous doomsday prophets referred to various harbingers of the looming cataclysms. They mentioned the United Kingdom’s decision to leave the European Union and the victory of a non-system candidate in the U.S. presidential election. They highlighted the nearly global rise of right-wing populism and antiglobalism to a level that was unprecedented in recent decades. They talked about the wave of migration that was threatening to consume Europe. They pointed to the impotence of international organizations in the face of multiplying regional conflicts, and they noted a widespread decline in public confidence in practically all institutions of power .
These apocalyptic visions were, of course, somewhat self-serving. Notwithstanding all its problems, in 2016 Moscow demonstrated a lot of political, economic and social stability amidst this global turmoil. Inflation was put under control, devaluation of the national currency was stopped and even reversed, Western economic sanctions failed to bring Russia to its knees, and the parliamentary elections in September resulted in a predictable triumphant victory for the Kremlin’s United Russia Party. Political and economic risks in the coming year 2017 appeared to be relatively low and manageable. Technocrats in the government and in the presidential administration had reasons to be proud of their performance: the Russian system turned out to be more adaptive and flexible than its in-house and foreign critics had maintained.
The notion of stability as the supreme value was back in circulation and used widely in both domestic and international propaganda. Even if Russia’s stability looked more and more like the stagnation of the late Soviet period, stagnation still appeared to be a preferable alternative to the West’s disorder and commotion. Not surprisingly, the greatest portion of gloomy and even apocalyptic prophesies of Russian pundits had to do with the fate of the European Union. In 2014-2016, the EU found itself in a perfect storm that revealed the frightening fragility and obvious obsolescence of many of its fundamental political, financial, economic, institutional and even spiritual foundations. Russia’s problems appeared much less dramatic against the background of the EU seemingly sinking into chaos, and the apparent hopelessness of the “European project.” 
Subsequent developments in Europe, however, demonstrated that the European Union had not lost its resilience and its cohesion. In this chapter, I argue that in 2017 Russian foreign policy started a painful process of reassessing its previous assumptions about the EU and its midterm prospects. This reassessment ran parallel to a growing disappointment in the ability of the Trump Administration in the United States to change the negative momentum in the U.S.-Russian relationship or to pursue a consistent foreign policy in general. One can foresee these changes in the Russian approach to the West continuing in 2018 and beyond.
Engagement Can Wait
The expectation (and, for some, the eager anticipation) of the inevitable collapse of the current world order influenced Russia’s foreign policy and relevant discussions, particularly in late 2016 and early 2017. Indeed, what sense did it make to invest effort, energy and political capital in difficult negotiations with leaders whose days were numbered anyway? Would it be reasonable to keep following rules of the game that had been accepted way back when if these same rules would be rewritten very soon? Was it worth agreeing to concessions and uncomfortable compromises if a new post-Western world was about to arrive? Would it not be wiser to wait it out and observe from a safe distance the epic demise of the old era, which had formed at the turn of the century?
Russian foreign policy at that juncture seemed to follow a wait-and-see approach, abstaining from any far-reaching proposals, not to mention potential concessions to Western partners or recondition of Russia’s past mistakes. The last visible attempt to set Russia-EU relations into motion was the occasion of EU Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker’s visit to Russia for the St. Petersburg International Economic Forum on June 16, 2016. President Vladimir Putin handed to his guest a list of specific proposals on restoring Moscow’s relations with Brussels. The EU, however, never reacted to the Russian list. Instead, the Kremlin had to live with the five principles of Federica Mogherini, only one of which (selective engagement with Russia on foreign policy issues vital to the EU) could be interpreted as a promise of limited cooperation in the future, but even this principle was deliberately vague and ambiguous.
A similar last-minute pitch failed in relations with the Obama Administration. On September 10th, 2016 in Geneva, after long and exhausting talks, John Kerry and Sergey Lavrov announced a tentative ceasefire deal for Syria. They also stated that this deal was to lead the way to a joint U.S.-Russian air campaign against ISIS and other extremist groups and new negotiations on the country’s political future.
This hope —to use Syria as an opportunity to limit the damage in Russian-American relations caused by the Ukrainian crisis—did not last very long. The painfully negotiated Kerry-Lavrov peace plan collapsed just a few weeks after signing. The Russian side accused the United States of failing to exercise the needed pressure on the select groups of the anti-Assad opposition to make them abide by the terms of the ceasefire agreement—a task that was arguably too big for Washington to handle successfully. Russians also complained that the United States had not been able to separate the moderate Syrian opposition from more radical factions gravitating to ISIS and al-Qaeda. Again, it remains unclear whether the United States was in a position to arrange such a separation. However, the main source of the Kremlin’s frustrations was the perceived unwill-ingness of the U.S. military to work in any substantive way with its Russian counterparts. In the fall of 2016 in Moscow, it became popular to argue that the Pentagon had managed to overrule the State Department, and that the hawkish views or Ash Carter had prevailed over the more moderate positions of John Kerry.
It seems that these failures to engage Europe and the United States, as well as the perception that the West was entering a long-term period of disarray and decline, led to a serious reassessment of Russian foreign policy priorities. Syria serves as an example of this reassessment. After the unsuccessful attempt to create a Russian-U.S. alliance, the Kremlin focused its energy and diplomatic skills on building a coalition of regional players through the Astana de-escalation process. Bringing Turkey and Iran to the negotiating table was an unquestionable diplomatic victory for Vladimir Putin, and the Kremlin worked hard to get major Arab countries interested in this new arrangement. The invitation was also extended to the United States, but U.S. participation was no longer considered critical for the success of Russia’s Syrian strategy.
Taking all of Russia’s internal problems and restraints into account, in 2016 Moscow appeared to have one undeniable advantage over the West: a more considerable reserve of time. Russia’s ailments, extremely serious as they are, are chronic and sometimes even dormant in nature: they have matured over years if not decades. The problems of the West, meanwhile, went from dormant to acute within a single year in 2016, and international experts started talking about the possibility of a fatal outcome. At any rate, the Kremlin had reasons to believe that in any possible confrontation scenario, Moscow would be able to outperform Western capitals, precisely because it had more time on its hands. The nature of the Russian political system, the high level of political mobilization and social consensus reached after the crisis of 2014, the marginalization of the domestic opposition and the relatively stable performance of the Russian economy—all these factors made the Russian leadership confident that it would not encounter major problems during, or following, the presidential elections of 2018.
Finally, the election of Donald Trump as the 45th President of the United States raised hopes in Moscow that Russia would be in a position to cut a deal with Washington above the heads of European capitals. Some of the election campaign statements by the new President sounded very encouraging; they apparently reflected a worldview and a set of foreign policy principles not very different from these of President Vladimir Putin. Though some Russian experts on the United States cautioned against too high expectations about possible change in U.S. foreign policy, the mood in Moscow on the eve of 2017 was largely optimistic. Only the pro-Western liberal minority was looking to the future with concerns and fear. This cohort of Russian intellectuals suspected that any further deepening of the crisis in the West would become a significant boost to authoritarian political trends inside Russia; the crisis and the growing impotence of the West could also create temptations for a more adventurist and risk-taking Kremlin foreign policy.
No Revolution This Week
Looking back to the “Trumpomania” of late 2016—early 2017, today many in Russia have turned from enthusiasm to fatalism. The common view in Moscow is that Trump had been overrated, that U.S.-Russian relations did not have a chance, that the Deep State is simply too powerful for any President to turn around, and that the U.S. establishment is genetically Russo-phobic. The logical conclusion is that in 2017, Russia could have done nothing and can do nothing today to change the momentum of the relationship. We now have to sit on our hands waiting for some shifts in U.S. politics. This is not a very optimistic view. However, was it really the case? Could we speculate about an alternative track of the relationship if Moscow had taken a different, more proactive approach, beginning in January 2017?
The inertia of negative trends in Russian-U.S. relations in early 2017 was very powerful and hard to stop. Policies toward Moscow became an important component of U.S. domestic politics and President Trump was significantly constrained in what he could offer his counterpart in the Kremlin. However, in my view, Russian policy made a few tactical mistakes that closed the door to even limited progress in the bilateral relationship during the first few months of the new Administration.
First, the political fallout of the alleged Russia’s interference into the U.S. presidential election of 2016 was grossly underestimated in Moscow. Instead of demonstrating its understanding of American concerns—no matter how grounded and justified these concerns looked from the Russian side—and offering full cooperation in investigating the hackers’ case, the Russian leadership took a very condescending and dismissive position in this matter. “This isn’t for us to get into; these are your domestic political squabbles. Therefore, you deal with them. Nothing to talk about,”  was how President Putin responded to Megyn Kelly’s question about hackers at the St. Petersburg International Economic Forum in early June. This dismissive attitude played a significant role in consolidating the anti-Russian consensus in America. Two month later the U.S. Congress almost unanimously approved a new far-reaching sanctions package against Russia.
Second, it its attempts to reach out to the United States, the Russian leadership targeted exclusively the new Administration, instead of sending meaningful signals to the U.S. public at large, including its representatives in the U.S. Congress. For instance, Moscow could have announced the abolition of the notorious Dima Yakovlev Law that banned adoption of Russian orphans by U.S. citizens. It could have demonstrated its good will by reconsidering the list of U.S. undesirable organizations that had been kicked out of Russia during the last years of the Obama Administration. It could have restarted a number of frozen U.S.-Russian exchange pro-grams in education and civil society (the FLEX program being one of the most evident options). Unfortunately, none of these evident steps was made—probably because the Kremlin did not consider U.S. public opinion to be an important factor in shaping the Trump Administration’s foreign policy.
Finally, to the extent we can judge the initial Russian proposals to the new U.S. Administration, which allegedly were submitted to the White house in late March-early April 2017, they were limited primarily to restoring communications in three areas. Moscow offered to resume political dialogue, contacts between top U.S. and Russian military officials and information exchange between intelligence agencies of the two countries. Nothing suggests that these proposals contained any substantive ideas or demonstrated any new flexibility in Kremlin positions on matters like Syria or Ukraine. There was nothing in the proposals that would give the Trump Administration the prospect of an early and spectacular foreign policy success.
In 2017 it became evident that not only had the Trump Administration inherited the U.S.-Russian crisis from its predecessors, this coincided with what was arguably the most profound political crisis in the United States since Watergate. What was more, America had also entered a social crisis that went way beyond the Washington, DC Beltway and had the potential to affect the whole of American society. The hope that Donald Trump could be a strong president capable of restoring the shaken unity of the American people did not pan out, while the polarization of different political and social groups increased throughout most of 2017. The White house became significantly restricted in its ability to conduct a consistent foreign policy, not to mention implement any long-term strategy.
At the same time, the developments of 2017 suggest that the decline of the old era in Europe has been postponed, if not cancelled outright. The populist Eurosceptics failed in the Dutch and French elections, and the German election reaffirmed the continuity of Berlin’s European strategy. Notwithstanding all of Brexit’s negative implications, it actually resulted in the European idea gaining more popular support within the EU’s 27 remaining member states, and it became unlikely that any would follow suit any time soon. The migration crisis was not completely resolved, but in 2017 it no longer appeared as dramatic as it did in 2016 and especially in 2015. The euro did not crash, and no eurozone nations were thrown out.
It seems that Moscow was late to accept the important change of the curve in European developments and to change its tactics, if not strategy, towards Europe. Otherwise, it is hard to understand, for example, why Vladimir Putin chose to greet personally French far-right presidential candidate Marine Le Pen at the Kremlin in March and why the Russian mainstream media were so critical, if not hostile, to Emmanuel Macron literally until the day of the second round of the French presidential elections. To be fair to the Kremlin, it demonstrated a much more prudent approach to the parliamentary elections in Germany in September. On the other hand, one can argue that there was a fundamental difference between the French and German election cycles of 2017: in France, three of four presidential candidate argued for a more accommodative EU policy toward Russia, including possible change to the regime of sanctions; in Germany no mainstream political party contemplated such a change.
The Resilience of the West
It would appear that the United States and Europe followed opposite courses in 2017: while Brussels was beginning to react to its systemic problems, albeit slowly and falteringly, Washington only watched its problems grow. On the other hand, these processes in Europe and North America, which might seem incompatible through the prism of global politics, essentially reflected in different ways the same fundamental meaning of 2017. The Western world as a whole demonstrated more ability to adjust, more resistance to destabilizing factors, and more resilience than anyone could have credited it with in late 2016. It would probably be an overstatement to label 2017 as annus mirabilis, but it was definitely not as bad as 2016, and it countered some of the most pessimistic views on the inevitability of Western decline.
It is true that after Trump became president, disputes intensified within NATO as to how the burden of defense expenses should be distributed within the Alliance. However, the May 2017 NATO summit in Brussels did not prove catastrophic, and any attempts to write NATO off appear to be very much premature. It is also true that the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership project is no more, but this has not resulted in heated trade wars between Europe and North America, nor will such conflicts break out in the future. Washington has left the Paris climate accord, but the major part of American business and society continue to observe the letter and spirit of that agreement.
This does not mean that 2017 resolved the postmodernist crisis in international relations: the fundamental problems of the modern global political system did not disappear in 2017, and the system will still have to change one way or another. however, we can now see that postmodernism is characterized by a good share of momentum and will continue to fight against advancing traditionalist forces for years to come. Therefore, current changes will most likely be characterized by a protracted evolution rather than a swift revolution; they will take years and even decades to complete. This process will have its ups and downs, speedups and slowdowns. however, it is unlikely that historians of the future, let alone contemporaries, will be able to pinpoint the moment when global politics transitioned from one qualitative state to the next. Speaking specifically of 2017, one can conclude that this period was dominated by restorative trends rather than by revolutionary ones.
What does this all mean for Russia? First and foremost, in 2017 decision-makers in the Kremlin should have cast away all illusions that Russia’s problems with the West would disappear on the back of the radical changes taking place within the West itself. The assumption that Moscow’s main task was to wait out this period in global politics, which, although extremely unpleasant for Russia, might appear to be short-lived, turned out to be highly questionable. In 2017, it became apparent that the Kremlin had no guaranteed advantage in short- and mid-term planning over the West. The Russian leadership had to plan for a marathon, not a sprint, and it was by no means a given that Moscow was better equipped to last out this contest than its Western opponents.
The upheavals of the past few years might not have completely cut down the snobbish, overconfident and not entirely perspicacious European bureaucrats and strategists, but they may at least have forced them to come down to earth. For the sake of the future of the European project, Brussels and other European capital cities were actively looking for new EU development paths, discussing possible solutions to key issues of political and economic reforms and plans to reform the key European institutions. Can we say in earnest that in 2017 Russia was discussing the future of the Russian project with the same zealousness, breadth and intensity?
It is of course possible that skeptics will soon mount another attack on the European Union, and that pro-Russian leaders will come to power in one or two European countries. It is also possible that Trump will manage to win a tactical victory over the Deep State, minimizing the practical implementation of new anti-Russian sanctions. A new major armed conflict in the Middle East could distract the West from its confrontation with Russia, or global political instability could lead to a steep oil price hike. However, building a strategy on such premises is akin to planning a family budget in hope of a hefty lottery win. The unpredictability of international developments should not justify the absence of a cohesive strategy, especially when one has to deal with an opponent who is far superior in terms of overall economic, social and military attributes of power.
In addition, it is now becoming clear that Russia will not be able to engage in strategic interaction with the Trump administration while leaving the disintegrating EU by the wayside. So far, the opposite has been true.
It appears that in the foreseeable future, Russia cannot hope for much more than tactical interaction with the United States on a limited set of issues, such as Syria, North Korea, the Arctic and nuclear non-proliferation. If Moscow is particularly lucky, it might expand this list to add strategic stability, the fight against global terrorism and certain other problems. However, cooperation with the Americans on the creation of a new world order is no longer possible. The firmness of the anti-Russian consensus in Washington is indisputable; splitting this consensus will take a very long time, if it happens at all. Very few people in Moscow today believe that the decisions on anti-Russian sanctions made in Washington in 2017 are likely to be reconsidered anytime soon. What is currently happening in U.S.-Russia relations is more than a worsening of the weather; it is a fundamental climatic shift, the coming of a new Ice Age.
The EU, on the other hand, appears to be more promising for Russia. In order to overcome its numerous problems and ailments, the European Union will inevitably have to revise many of its existing mechanisms, procedures and priorities, and even, to an extent, its rules and principles. Russia could assist with the European Union’s transformation for its own benefit by supporting a stronger Europe and abstaining from patronizing anti-European parties and movements across the continent. In this case, it could hope to gradually expand cooperation with Europe, on the con-dition that at least some minimal progress is achieved on Ukraine, which is central to Russia-EU relations.
This does not imply that fundamental disagreements between Moscow and Brussels will cease to exist. The worldview of the current political leadership in the Kremlin is not going to change; an ideological revolution in the European Union is no more likely. In the observable future Russia will not become a part of the European project. Nevertheless, this division does not preclude various forms of cooperation similar to these during the 1970s or 1980s.
Back to the Cold War
Since no revolution took place in global politics in 2017, practical solutions need to be sought in the framework of the existing system of political coordinates; more grandiose plans have to wait. The old model of geopolitical confrontation between East and West, i.e., the Cold War model, should be revisited as an interim solution for the Russia-West adversarial relationship. This model is certainly far from ideal, it is expensive and to a great extent outdated. Nevertheless, notwithstanding all its shortcomings, the Cold War model used to ensure a satisfactory level of stability and predictability, both in Europe and in the world as a whole.
This model included numerous channels of political interaction, contacts among militaries, risk mitigation measures and arms control treaties. Furthermore, the Cold War model was based on mutual respect and even a degree of mutual trust. So why not fall back on this time-tested con-frontation management practice, using such mechanisms as the NATO–Russia Council, the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) and the Council of Europe, or new ad-hoc formats like the Russia-NATO Crisis Management Group, which has been repeatedly proposed?
At this stage the name of the game in Russia’s relations with the West is not mutual trust, but rather mutual predictability. Since it is very difficult to make predictions about the Trump Administration, major European counties and the European Union at large become more important for Russia than was the case earlier. For example, both Russia and the EU have strategic interests to secure the multilateral agreement of the Iranian nuclear dossier. Likewise, the Russian and the EU positions are close on the North Korean problem.
In some areas, there is actually no need to return to the old model because it is still in place. This goes for Russia’s nuclear interaction with the United States, for example. The two remaining pillars of this interaction, the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty (INF) and New START Treaty, while certainly offering some positive aspects, are nevertheless fully compliant with the logic of controlled confrontation and are fully within the Cold War paradigm. Retaining and reinforcing these accords would not require any historic political breakthrough, unilateral concessions, or switching to a fundamentally new format of Moscow’s relations with Washington.
The goal to preserve INF and New START is definitely worth fighting for. Nevertheless, even if this hard battle is won, this will not signal the end of the fight to secure and to strengthen strategic arms control in the 21st century. Neither INF nor New START prevents the United States from spending $1 trillion in the next 30 years on modernizing its nuclear bombs, bombers, missiles and submarines. Russia will also continue its large-scale strategic modernization program, even if the two agreements remain in place.
The crisis of strategic arms control is more complex and fundamental than the uncertain future of the two agreements, as important as they are. In the 21st century, strategic arms control is no longer about arithmetic; it requires applications of higher mathematics. These days, mobility dom-inates location, precision beats throw-weight; and the line between nuclear and conventional weapons has become almost invisible. The old arms control paradigm has entered into its own perfect storm. While preservation of its Cold War heritage is indispensable, preservation in itself is clearly not sufficient to provide for strategic stability in a completely new global environment.
One can argue that traditional distinctions between strategic, intermediate-range and tactical systems are becoming antiquated. The reality is that the United States and Russia have and will continue to have strikingly different geopolitical and geostrategic positions in the world; their threat perceptions and their respective strategic doctrines will never be identical to each other. If so, the United States and Russia could merge New START and INF into one umbrella agreement that would set overall ceilings for nuclear warheads and launchers on both sides. Within these overall ceilings both Washington and Moscow would be in a position to blend individual cocktails of strategic, intermediate range and tactical systems to their liking. For a better taste, they could even add the missile defense component to the mix. The only sub-ceiling that they might need to preserve is the sub-ceiling for deployed warheads, which are of particular concern to the other side. This sub-ceiling can amount to a half or one third of the total number.
This approach will not address all the contemporary challenges to strategic arms control. For example, the time has come move away from a bilateral U.S.-Russian format to a multilateral one, but this approach will not do that. Still, an innovative approach would be a loud and clear signal to third nuclear powers that there is political will in both the White House and in the Kremlin not only to preserve, but also to enhance and to modernize global strategic security.
Skeptics can argue that today is not the best time to experiment with new approaches to strategic arms control. U.S.-Russian relations have hit historical lows, trust between the two countries is non-existent, political opposition to any new deals will be too strong to generate domestic support for any new agreements. These are exactly the arguments used back in the 1950s against a possible U.S.—Soviet collaboration to write a set of rules for the new nuclear world. It took the Cuban missile crisis of October 1962 to start moving away from this perception, and another ten years to sign the first U.S.-Soviet Strategic Arms Limitation Talks Agreement (SALT 1). Are we ready to wait for another missile crisis—in North Korea or elsewhere? Can we afford another ten years for a new detente between Washington and Moscow?
The Second Layer of the Pie
Overhauling and restarting the old Cold War model is a necessary but insufficient factor for the future stabilization of Russia’s relations with the West. With all its comparative advantages, this model has at least four key structural limitations. First, the Cold War model is inherently static. It is aimed at preserving the status quo and precludes any evolution. Such a model is extremely difficult to reform; it was no accident that the Cold War ended not in an orderly transformation of the controlled confrontation model, but in a dramatic and chaotic collapse in the late 1980s. Given the dynamics of the international system today, any attempt to codify Rus-sia-West relations for an extended period of time is unlikely to be successful. There are simple too many independent variables that might affect these relations, from rising China to the fourth industrial revolution to global climate change.
Second, the Cold War was primarily fought by two vertically structured politico-military blocs, which split Europe into the Soviet and U.S. spheres of influence. It would be absolutely impossible to divide today’s Europe into distinct spheres of influence; the very idea of spheres of influence is considered to be hopelessly antiquated and unacceptable, at least in the Western world. Besides, contemporary Russia is not comparable to the former USSR at the peak of its might; a geopolitical parity between Moscow and the combined West is only possible if Russia creates a political and military alliance with China, but it is highly unlikely that Russia would be the leading partner in such an alliance.
Third, Soviet and U.S. leaders built the Cold War model in order to counter the most dangerous threats of the 20th century. Even though many of these threats still exist, the 21st century has brought up new challenges, including those posed by non-governmental actors. The Cold War model cannot offer much in terms of counteracting the new generation of threats to international security. In many ways, the Cold War model was the last incarnation of the traditional Westphalian world, which is no longer the world in which we live.
Fourth, the Cold War model was relatively effective in a situation when the two confronting systems remained virtually isolated from one another and separated by incompatible ideologies. No such economic, political or humanitarian confrontation between Russia and the West exists anymore, nor could it be reinstated, despite certain attempts being made on both sides. The current media war between Russia and the West looks like a caricature of the ideological struggle between communism and liberal democracy in the middle of the 20th century. Nor can Russia be isolated from the West in an age of unprecedented human mobility, porous borders, global information and communications technologies. Despite all of Russia’s efforts aimed at self-reliance, import substitution and higher protectionism, the country’s dependence on the outside word is likely to increase, not decrease.
The old model’s considerable limitations necessitate the introduction of a new complementary dimension to Russia-West relations. The role of such a dimension could be played out through a system of global, regional and sub-regional regimes that would preserve and expand the common space between Russia and Europe, between Eurasia and the Euro-Atlantic area.
In the initial phase, such regimes would be easier to preserve and develop in less politically sensitive fields, such as education, science and culture. However, it may be possible to apply the regimes model to nontraditional security challenges, including international terrorism, drug trafficking, cross-border crime, energy security and even cyber security. The regimes model can also work on the sub-regional level: for example, it has long been applied effectively in the Arctic.
In the current situation, the regimes model could efficiently complement the old Cold War model in Russia’s relations with the West. As distinct from the inherently rigid Cold War model, which requires strict codification of agreements reached, the regimes model is flexible, often making it possible to do without burdensome negotiations over technicalities and avoid complex and protracted ratification procedures.
While the Cold War model requires a universally recognized hierarchy of parties in international relations, the regimes model is based on horizontal interactions between the parties involved, which may include not only large and small states, but also non-governmental actors such as regions and municipalities, private companies and civil institutions, international organizations and cross-border movements. This significantly expands the range of potential stakeholders interested in the development of cooperation, creating a critical mass for subsequent breakthroughs.
Skeptics would argue that this approach has already been tried in the relations between Russia and the West, but failed to prevent the current crisis and therefore should be rejected as inefficient. I would make a counterargument: the current crisis would be much deeper and more difficult to manage if the two sides did not have a thick network of social, humanitarian, cultural, educational and other contacts. Despite an ongoing and intense information war, the West still remains a point of orientation to millions and millions of Russians. It is true that Russians have not become completely immune to anti-Western propaganda, but the depth and the sustainability of anti-Western moods in the Russian society can be questioned.
Whereas the Cold War model proceeds from the premise that the parties are prepared for major deals such as the 1975 Helsinki Accords, and is mainly based on a top-down approach, the regimes model works in situations of strategic uncertainty, in the absence of major deals, and is mostly based on a bottom-up approach. Shoots of cooperation sprout up wherever there are even the most minuscule cracks in the asphalt of confrontation.
The question is whether such different models of Russia’s relations with the West can possibly be combined within a single hybrid format. That this is possible in principle follows from the peculiarities of contemporary social organization in Russia and the West, which differs radically from how things were organized in the middle of the 20th century. Thanks to the high level of social, professional and cultural fragmentation in contemporary societies, the existence of multiple group and individual identities, and the extremely intricate mechanisms of interaction within vertical, horizontal, formal, informal, basic and situational ties, both models will have their target audiences, proponents, operators and ideologists in Russia and the West.
It is easy to predict that the logic of confrontation will inevitably restrict and distort the logic of cooperation. One way or another, the two mutually complementary models affect each other, because they simply cannot be isolated. However, the art of foreign policy presupposes, among other things, the ability to play chess on several boards simultaneously, or to be more precise, to play chess, poker and even the exotic Asian game Go at the same time, not just the traditional Russian game of gorodki. The most important thing is to delimit the spheres of application of the two models and gradually shift the balance between them from the former to the latter.
Looking Beyond the Horizon
Any significant changes in the current pattern of relations between Russia and the West is likely to be a slow, gradual and long process. At this stage, there are not many compelling reasons for the Kremlin to reconsider its fundamental approaches to the West. On the one hand, the current status quo is perceived as not perfect, but generally acceptable. Potential risks associated with maintaining the status quo are regarded as relatively low compared to risks that might emerge from attempts at changing the status quo. The margin of safety of both the Russian political system and its economy is still quite significant. On the other hand, the trend towards a new consolidation of the West is still very fragile and arguably reversible. There are many political, social and economic problems, to which neither the United States, not the European Union, have found credible solutions.
The status quo-focused foreign policy does not exclude trial balloons, tactical adjustments, incremental concessions, and situational collaboration. All these are important in 2018 and in years to come. However, a more fundamental change in Russian foreign policy is not likely to come as a cumulative effect of incremental adjustments or situational collaboration. Neither will it result from a revelation of a Russian leader, no matter who this leader is likely to be a few years from now. At the end of the day, Russia’s foreign policy priorities will be defined by the economic and social development trajectory upon which the nation will embark once it has depleted the potential of the current development model.
Russia can definitely survive without the West generally, and without Europe in particular. It might even prosper without the West if global prices on oil and other commodities go up again and a new golden rain waters the national economy. It does not matter much to whom you sell your commodities—clients in the West or clients in the East, developed or developing nations, mature democracies or authoritarian regimes. With Russia’s rent-seeking economy in place, the West is not likely to reemerge as an indispensable partner for Moscow. Moreover, Russia can even stick to a neo-isolationist foreign policy, consistently trying to protect its citizens from the dangers and challenges of the globalizing world.
This foreign policy option will be even more probable if the overall international system evolves in the direction of more nationalism, protectionism, rigid balance of powers, continuous decay of international institutions and international law. If the name of game is survival rather than development, if the top national priority everywhere is security rather than development, then incentives to change anything will remain low.
However, let us suppose that the name of the game is not to maintain the rent-seeking economic model, but to pursue a strategy of encouraging deep structural economic reforms, promoting innovation and entrepreneurship, and unleashing the creative potential of the Russian people. Let us suppose that the modern liberal world order successfully overcomes the ongoing crisis and the international system move away from hard to soft power, from unilateralism to multilateralism, from closeness to openness. In this case connecting to the West, borrowing best Western practices, learning from Western mistakes is going to be a critical precondition for any successful Russian modernization. This has always been the case, ever since Italian architects supervised the erection of the red brick Kremlin walls in Moscow back in 1485.
Given all the uncertainties of future developments in Russia and in the West, it might make sense to define three time horizons for this very complex and uneasy relationship. Each of these has its own logic, priorities, goals, opportunities, and limitations. The first is about de-escalation, which involves a stable cease-fire in Donbass, moderation of inflammatory rhetoric on both sides, a truce in the information war, and resumption of political and military contacts and various levels. The second is about stabilization, including a more general political settlement in Ukraine along the lines of the Minsk Agreements, gradual removal of sanctions and countersanctions, a set of confidence-building measures in Europe, promotion of cooperation in areas of mutual concern (e.g. soft security), unilateral limitations on military deployments, and strengthening European regimes in humanitarian fields. Moving on to the third, long-term horizon, we should review and revise the idea of a Greater Europe that was unsuccessfully tried after the end of the Cold War; our second attempt should be based on lessons learned from the failure of the first attempt.
«Spitzenkandidat literally means top candidate or party list leader. The German word entered the European Union lexicon in 2013 after the centre left Party of European Socialists committed itself to naming a Spitzenkandidat for the next EU parliamentary elections. The Spitzenkandidat would then become the party’s choice for the EU’s most high-profile job – European Commission president. The PES has argued that picking a Spitzenkandidat would democratise the process of selecting the commission president. But the concept only gained momentum in December 2013 when the centre right European People’s Party decided to do the same, despite the objections of some of its high profile leaders, including German Chancellor Angela Merkel. » [Financial Times]
«The 2014 European Parliament (EP) elections introduced a novel procedure to elect the President of the European Commission: the so-called Spitzenkandidaten, i.e. pan-European lead candidates nominated by the European political parties. The two main purposes behind this innovation were to mobilise the electorate and to strengthen the EP. The first use of the Spitzenkandidaten model established a new modus operandi of the EP at the expense of the European Council, which now has to appoint the lead candidate whose party won most seats in the European elections. However, it also contributed to polarising citizens’ attitudes towards the EU and did not overcome the tendency to compete in European elections on purely national issues. Future adjustments of the Spitzenkandidaten procedure should aim to improve the EU’s responsiveness and make the elections more European. Introducing primaries for the nominations of the Spitzenkandidaten could be a first step, eventually leading to the direct election of the Commission President.» [Fonte]
«The EU needs a more democratic way to choose its leaders. ….
It is less than two years to the start of the next round of Brussels’ favorite contest: determining who gets the European Union’s top jobs. And already some wannabe successors to European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker are floating up candidate kites.
For once, there are some more than competent possibilities in the existing Commission. But the current so-called Spitzenkandidat system makes the election of the medieval-era Holy Roman Emperor seem transparent and democratic. It needs to be reformed. Failure to do so would play into the hands of Euroskeptics everywhere.»
Diamo voce ad un vecchio articolo comparso sul The Guardian del giugno 2014.
Come fare a far eleggere Mr Juncker che era popolare come la scabbia?
«Outside of Luxembourg, it is difficult to find anyone in the EU elite who believes Juncker is the right person at the right time for Europe. “He’s the wrong answer to the wrong question,” said a senior EU diplomat.»
«Jean-Claude Juncker had been nominated by 26 votes to 2. »
«To understand Juncker’s improbable rise, it is necessary to go back to the 2009 Lisbon Treaty. The former Luxembourg prime minister landed the job by an overwhelming majority because national leaders sleepwalked into a trap laid by federalist schemers in the European parliament and could not summon the will to do anything about it, just as they appear to have overlooked reading the fine print of the legal text that governs Europe»
«It’s done a lot of damage»
«Last month’s ballot was the first under the new rules, which stipulate that the leaders have to make their nomination in the light of the election results. The parliament must endorse the nominee by an absolute majority of seats»
«It was Martin Schulz, the German social democrat and parliamentary speaker, who forced the issue last year. He gained the support of Europe’s centre-left leaders, except for Britain’s Labour party, led the social democrats’ election campaign and became their contender for commission head if they won the election.»
«Van Rompuy argued that putting up candidates for the commission in the elections was meaningless because a leftist in Portugal would not vote for a German green and a Polish conservative would not vote for a Luxembourger»
«naming the candidates severely restricted the field, discouraged a higher calibre of senior politician from running because they did not want to risk forfeiting their domestic careers and then not get the job»
«According to the June 2014 European Council conclusions we should further consider the process for the appointment of the President of the European Commission. When addressing the key institutional issues of the EU in February, in particular the Spitzenkandidaten mechanism the results of our debates must be in full compliance with the Treaties and should not undermine the current balance between the EU institutions and among the Member States. From this perspective we disagree with the establishment of a transnational list. We are convinced that the number of seats in the European Parliament needs to be reduced. As encompassed by the Treaties, the democratic control of Member States over legislative and political processes of the EU should follow the principle of subsidiarity»
Lo Spitzenkandidat system sembrerebbe essere tutto fuorché lecitamente democratico.
Che poi serva agli eurocrati a nominare chiunque vogliano, questo è un altro paio di maniche. Anche Caligola nominò senatore il proprio cavallo.
Nel parlamento Europeo, il numero minimo di deputati richiesto per costituire un gruppo politico è fissato in 25 deputati, provenienti da almeno un quarto degli stati membri (attualmente 7). Coloro che non appartengono a nessun gruppo politico si collocano tra i non iscritti. Un deputato non può aderire a più gruppi politici.
The Czech Republic, Hungary, Slovakia and Poland, known as the Visegrad Four, “disagree with the establishment of a transnational list” for the European Parliament elections, they said in a statement Friday. Transnational lists would be single party lists for which citizens could vote from different member states. The V4 countries also oppose the ‘Spitzenkandidat’ system of the winning European political party’s main candidate becoming the EU Commission president.
It was a glorious summer evening in Scandinavia bathed in eternal light. Over dinner prepared by a top TV chef, a prime minister divulged his thoughts about European politics. “I’m a bit worried that the European parliament seems to be getting all these new powers,” he said. The year was 2009, the EU’s Lisbon Treaty was just about to come into force. The prime minister’s admission was surprising because it was his and the other governments of the EU that had written the treaty, not the parliament or any other EU institution.
“We know that the parliament gets more powers, but why did your governments do that? Didn’t you read the treaty?” the prime minister was asked. He gave no answer.
Fast forward five years and another meal, this time in Brussels. Over gazpacho, turbot with chervil, and chocolate and apricot pastries, the result was announced of the issue that has given European leaders indigestion for weeks. Jean-Claude Juncker had been nominated by 26 votes to 2. David Cameron bristled and demanded a show of hands. Just for the record. The English Channel suddenly widened.
There is a distinct line of cause and effect from the Scandinavian restaurant to the Brussels luncheon.
Outside of Luxembourg, it is difficult to find anyone in the EU elite who believes Juncker is the right person at the right time for Europe. “He’s the wrong answer to the wrong question,” said a senior EU diplomat.
To understand Juncker’s improbable rise, it is necessary to go back to the 2009 Lisbon Treaty. The former Luxembourg prime minister landed the job by an overwhelming majority because national leaders sleepwalked into a trap laid by federalist schemers in the European parliament and could not summon the will to do anything about it, just as they appear to have overlooked reading the fine print of the legal text that governs Europe.
A catalogue of complacency, negligence, miscalculation and manoeuvring by national leaders over the past nine months conspired to deliver an outcome no one really wanted – Jean-Claude Juncker, Europe’s accidental president.
Arguments about Juncker’s suitability only took place after the horse had bolted, too late to reverse the momentum supplied by last month’s European elections.
“The leaders individually and collectively didn’t quite understand what this was about,” said the diplomat. “But in the parliament they were devoted to this and they have more time to deal with it.”
Another senior official in Brussels said: “We are at the point of no return. It’s done a lot of damage. Now it’s about damage limitation.”
This sorry tale of mismanagement and ineptitude by Europe’s national governments over the past year has saddled the EU with a powerful executive chief for the next five years whom many of them think is not fit for purpose. “The question is, will he be able to manage a large, complex bureaucracy in the 21st century,” said another senior EU official, reflecting widespread worries about his management credentials.
David Cameron is taking a lot of the blame. His uncompromising public campaign to destroy Juncker might have had heads nodding privately in agreement. But his indirect threats to quit the EU if he lost were perceived as bullying and blackmail, turning the commission president contest into a counter-productive zero sum game – support Cameron or Juncker.
Cameron was not alone in his miscalculation. There is enough blame to go round. The fight over Juncker feature double-crossing, broken promises, manipulative spinning, and leaders pirouetting in 180-degree U-turns within days.Juncker’s ascendancy has its roots a decade back in the Convention on Europe that prepared the EU’s doomed constitution, felled in 2005, but resurrected by the Germans in 2007 in the form of the Lisbon Treaty that came into force at the end of 2009.
Influential federalists in the European parliament such as Elmar Brok or Klaus Welle, both German Christian Democrats, the latter the invisible but powerful parliament general-secretary, were determined to dilute the prerogative of the national leaders to decide who heads the commission, the EU’s executive. They pushed for a more “democratic” option, making the choice of commission president turn on the result of European elections.
“If it’s not Juncker, we have a big crisis,” Brok told The Guardian. “No one else will get through the parliament. Who else can get a parliamentary majority?”
Last month’s ballot was the first under the new rules, which stipulate that the leaders have to make their nomination in the light of the election results. The parliament must endorse the nominee by an absolute majority of seats (a session is tentatively scheduled for 16 or 17 July).
It was Martin Schulz, the German social democrat and parliamentary speaker, who forced the issue last year. He gained the support of Europe’s centre-left leaders, except for Britain’s Labour party, led the social democrats’ election campaign and became their contender for commission head if they won the election.
The argument was that this was a fairer, more democratic, more transparent way of “electing” a commission chief, empowering Europe’s voters. “It was me who started it. But it was followed by many others,” Schulz told the Guardian over a recent lunch. “We’re in a moment of deepening democratic and parliamentarian structures. It’s not about reducing the power of heads of government. It’s about bringing more clarity and transparency. I want to bring this through. This is my personal ambition.”
Schulz’s gambit last year had a snowball effect. Liberals, greens and the hard left in the parliament followed suit and selected election campaign leaders who were also their contenders for the commission post. National leaders were caught napping. They continued dozing.
The momentum created by Schulz put Angela Merkel in a tight spot. Her Christian Democrats lead the parliament’s European People’s party, the biggest caucus. They were now under pressure to follow Schulz’s lead for fear of appearing undemocratic.
The euro crisis brought Merkel to the fore as unarguably the most powerful politician in Europe. Her approach throughout was to sideline the European institutions and preserve the crisis management as the remit of national governments. She was not about to surrender those same national powers over who should head the commission.
But she was forced to. In March she went to an EPP congress in Dublin and supported the nomination of Juncker through gritted teeth against his rival, Michel Barnier of France. She went further than merely backing Juncker, actively lobbying other centre-right leaders such as Spain’s Mariano Rajoy to support the Luxembourger.
The reason was that, while Cameron was gearing up for his aggressive Stop Juncker campaign, Merkel’s priority became increasingly to stop Schulz, believing that having a social democrat at the top of the commission would imperil her euro crisis austerity and structural reform prescriptions. Merkel did not particularly want Juncker. But she wanted Schulz a lot less. Herman Van Rompuy, the EU summit’s chairman, whose lot it was to sort out a situation getting messier and more volatile by the day, was also an ardent opponent of Juncker and of parliamentary primacy in the contest.
Van Rompuy argued that putting up candidates for the commission in the elections was meaningless because a leftist in Portugal would not vote for a German green and a Polish conservative would not vote for a Luxembourger. Besides, naming the candidates severely restricted the field, discouraged a higher calibre of senior politician from running because they did not want to risk forfeiting their domestic careers and then not get the job.
With Berlin dominating the dispute and Cameron baying increasingly loudly from the sidelines, it is perhaps one measure of Germany’s new pre-eminence in Europe that the entire fiasco acquired a German term – Spitzenkandidaten or frontrunners.
When the EPP or Christian democrats emerged as the election victors with 221 of 751 seats, 30 ahead of the social democrats and well down on 2009, national leaders began to panic at the realisation they were stuck with Juncker.
On May 27 two days after the election, the leaders dined in Brussels to chew over their predicament. Van Rompuy was told to fix it. Merkel suppressed demands for an immediate vote on the Juncker nomination, playing for time. Cameron rolled out his big weapon – if Juncker gets it, Britain might well quit the EU. The shock-and-awe tactics did not work.
But at a midnight press conference in Brussels, Merkel hummed and hawed, suggested it might not be Juncker and triggered the most hostile grilling from the German media she has ever encountered at an EU summit. TV reporters stood up to accuse her of breaking her promises to German voters, of betrayal, of double-dealing. Merkel appeared nonplussed, struggling to reconcile her positions as leader of the Christian Democrats with that of leader of the most important EU country.
“If she said no to Juncker, she would have been in the same position as Cameron in London,” said Brok. “And her big problem is that she would be accused of election betrayal.”
Over the next 10 days the leaders were all over the place. Mark Rutte of the Netherlands backed Cameron, then he did not, voiced his opposition to Spitzenkandidaten in principle, then conceded Juncker might get it after all.
At the same Brussels press conference, Merkel said she would not be rushed into a decision, there was plenty of time. A week later a leaked Dutch diplomatic cable had her demanding a very quick decision, that she had made her mind up that it would be Juncker.
Van Rompuy’s people whispered that Juncker would do everyone a favour by falling on his sword, he would “voluntarily withdraw”. A week later the same people were confirming that Van Rompuy had concluded there was no alternative to Juncker.
Merkel, meanwhile, had to resolve her biggest problem – what to do about Schulz. The former Aachen bookseller, buoyed by his triumph in setting a fait accompli before Europe’s elected leaders, neither looked nor sounded like a man who had just lost a European election.
It was a double-act with Juncker. The Luxembourger had offered him the plum post of vice-president of the commission, Schulz told the Guardian. That meant Schulz had to be Germany’s EU commissioner, a step too far for Merkel.
In Berlin she cut a deal with her coalition partner, Sigmar Gabriel, the SPD leader. Juncker got a green light for the commission job, but Schulz would need to be bought off by remaining parliament chief for 30 months. Gabriel agreed, while declaring “it has to be a Juncker-Schulz axis”.
Cameron appeared chastened, felt betrayed by Berlin. If his campaign was driven by internal Conservative party politics, he was out-manoeuvred by the exigencies of German domestic politics and Merkel’s ruthlessness. He’s not the only loser in a battle with few winners.
“There’s a lot of discomfort now in the European council about being landed in this,” said one of the senior diplomats. “But it’s too late to do anything about it.”
Quando in famiglia muore il nonno decrepito tutti si disperano. Del nonno se ne facevano un baffo a torciglione: uno di qua e l’altro di là. Importava loro invece la sua pensione. Morto il nonno, basta pensione, e si deve iniziare a pensare di andare a lavorare per vivere.
Ma la terra è bassa: lavorare costa fatica. Un partito, un candidato, mica che possa promettere lavoro: sarebbe immediatamente linciato.
Qui in Italia ci si dimentica, non si vuole dire, che nonna Banca Centrale ci ha comprato per anni titoli di stato ed altre frattaglie. Mica briciolotti: decine di miliardi. Ed ora la pacchia sta per finire. I QE sono destinati a cassare, ed ora proseguono a ritmo ridotto. E mancheranno all’appello all’incirca sessanta miliardi di euro subito, ma la cifra a fine QE dovrebbe salire a 146 miliardi.
Nessun partito politico in corsa per le elezioni ha detto donde vorrebbe cavare una cifra del genere, quando cesseranno i QE.
Al sodo: il nuovo governo, sempre che alla fine lo si possa fare, cosa mica poi così scontata, dovrà attirare un qualcosa come trecento miliardi all’anno ora in tasca ai privati, che vogliono essere remunerati del rischio che corrono e che alla fine ne vorranno la restituzione.
Il kompagno Keynes ha spiegato alla perfezione come fare i debiti, ma si è scordato di spiegare come fare a rimborsarli.
Se non stupisce il fatto che i partiti ed i candidati non lo sappiano, quelli si intendono più di grammatica ittita che di economia, lascia esterrefatti il cumulo di promesse buttate sul tavolino, con soave levità.
Facendo una somma anche molto grossolana, tutti assieme hanno promesso azioni per oltre settecento miliardi.
«lunga promessa con l’attender corto / ti farà trïunfar ne l’alto seggio»
diceva padre Dante.
«Il debito pubblico italiano (oltre 2.200 miliardi su cui maturano interessi annui per circa 60 miliardi) nel 2018 continuerà a ricevere (come per tutti i Paesi dell’Eurozona, eccezion fatta per la Grecia) un aiutino da parte della Banca centrale europea. Ma sarà meno ricco rispetto al passato di circa 5 miliardi al mese. »
«Il Pspp (Public sector purchase program, il piano di acquisti di bond sovrani, l’elemento più corposo del pacchetto complessivo del quantitative easing attraverso il quale la Bce compra anche obbligazioni private, covered bond e titoli Abs) continuerà infatti almeno fino al prossimo settembre»
«C’è però una differenza sostanziale rispetto al 2017. I miliardi iniettati saranno molti di meno: anziché 60, scenderanno a 30 al mese»
«Sommando quindi ai 30 miliardi mensili destinati a nuovi titoli circa 15 miliardi che verranno utilizzati per ricoprire le scadenze (ottenuti sulla base di un monte scadenze pari a 146 miliardi a cui aggiungere il reinvestimento delle cedole maturate) vuol dire che, miliardo più miliardo meno, la Bce immetterà qualcosa come 45 miliardi al mese per l’acquisto di asset.»
«Escludendo la quota di acquisti destinata a bond privati e titoli Abs la fetta relativa ai titoli di Stato dell’Eurozona nell’ipotesi che l’aiuto arrivi fino a dicembre sarà vicina a 310 miliardi, di cui 116 per reinvestimenti.»
«Nel complesso il sostegno pubblico della Bce sarà inferiore per oltre 300 miliardi rispetto al 2017.»
* * * * * * * *
Cerchiamo di essere chiari.
Paroloni grossi grossi, come reddito da cittadinanza, aumentare le pensioni, rendere gratuita la frequenza universitaria, nozze gay per tutti, possono colpire le menti microlissencefale, ma sono solo nuovi capitoli di spese.
A spendere siamo buoni tutti.
Il problema è guadagnarseli, e qui si sta parlando di cifre astronomiche.
Quando c’è poco, dire che si potrebbe risparmiare è follia pura: roba da neurodeliri.
In un paese serio questo dovrebbe essere il vero nodo del dibattito politico. Il resto è roba da Boldrini, dicerie da carampane in disarmo.
Il debito pubblico italiano (oltre 2.200 miliardi su cui maturano interessi annui per circa 60 miliardi) nel 2018 continuerà a ricevere (come per tutti i Paesi dell’Eurozona, eccezion fatta per la Grecia) un aiutino da parte della Banca centrale europea. Ma sarà meno ricco rispetto al passato di circa 5 miliardi al mese. Vediamo perché.
Il Pspp (Public sector purchase program, il piano di acquisti di bond sovrani, l’elemento più corposo del pacchetto complessivo del quantitative easing attraverso il quale la Bce compra anche obbligazioni private, covered bond e titoli Abs) continuerà infatti almeno fino al prossimo settembre. Anzi, molti analisti si aspettano che venga prolungato fino a dicembre. C’è però una differenza sostanziale rispetto al 2017. I miliardi iniettati saranno molti di meno: anziché 60, scenderanno a 30 al mese. Questo dato però non tiene conto della quota di titoli in mano alla Bce che andranno in scadenza e che l’istituto di Francoforte reinvestirà. Sommando quindi ai 30 miliardi mensili destinati a nuovi titoli circa 15 miliardi che verranno utilizzati per ricoprire le scadenze (ottenuti sulla base di un monte scadenze pari a 146 miliardi a cui aggiungere il reinvestimento delle cedole maturate) vuol dire che, miliardo più miliardo meno, la Bce immetterà qualcosa come 45 miliardi al mese per l’acquisto di asset.
Escludendo la quota di acquisti destinata a bond privati e titoli Abs la fetta relativa ai titoli di Stato dell’Eurozona nell’ipotesi che l’aiuto arrivi fino a dicembre sarà vicina a 310 miliardi, di cui 116 per reinvestimenti.
Nel complesso il sostegno pubblico della Bce sarà inferiore per oltre 300 miliardi rispetto al 2017. Quanto ai BTp italiani i calcoli indicano che la Bce immetterà fino a dicembre 45 miliardi a cui aggiungere un importo che oscilla tra i 14 e i 20 miliardi relativo al riacquisto dei titoli in scadenza. Quindi circa 60 miliardi, ovvero 5 miliardi al mese. Considerando che nel 2017 la Bce ha stanziato solo per il debito italiano 117 miliardi (circa 9,8 miliardi al mese) il conto è fatto: nel 2018 all’Italia mancheranno all’appello (lato Bce) 4,8 miliardi al mese.
A questo punto è lecito chiedersi: chi ce li mette? Il mercato degli investitori privati sarà in grado di coprire il calo di acquisti annunciato da Francoforte? A giudicare dalla forte domanda che c’è stata a gennaio sulla prima emissione a lunga scadenza (BTp a 20) non ci dovrebbero essere problemi: il titolo è stato offerto per un controvalore di 9 miliardi mentre la domanda è arrivata a 30, oltre tre volte. Segnale che la richiesta di BTp da parte dei privati resta ancora sostenuta anche perché in questa fase – complici anche le incertezze legate alle elezioni politiche del 4 marzo – i rendimenti italiani sono i più alti (Grecia esclusa) dell’Eurozona. Venerdì il BTp a 10 anni è tornato sopra il 2%, 138 punti base in più del rispettivo titoli tedesco e 60 del Bonos spagnolo di pari durata.
«Il mercato obbligazionario dovrà trovare più domanda per la carta italiana rispetto all’anno scorso – spiega Gianni Piazzoli, head of advisory di Anthilia Capital Partners -. Un target ambizioso, ma a nostro modo di vedere alla portata dei titoli del Tesoro italiano, che possono contare in questa fase su un quadro macroeconomico in significativo miglioramento e, grazie alle vicende politiche, un premio al rischio ancora attraente rispetto ai rendimenti offerti dalla carta “core” europea».
A quanto pare dal mercato dovrebbe arrivare senza patemi quella quota di ossigeno che la Bce ha deciso di ritirare. C’è poi un altro fattore che tranquillizza. È vero che la Bce stanzierà meno soldi a sostegno dei BTp ma è anche vero che nel 2018 il Tesoro ridurrà le emissioni nette. Le stime di uno studio di Bnp Paribas indicano che lo Stato italiano emetterà nuovi titoli per 225 miliardi a fronte dei 181 che andranno in scadenza per un netto positivo di 44 miliardi che in ogni caso rappresenta il 16% in meno rispetto al 2017. Quindi meno titoli emessi vuol dire anche meno titoli da “coprire” dal mercato.
La solidità della domanda privata potrebbe però non bastare ad evitare il rialzo dei rendimenti. Questo perché i tassi stanno salendo in tutto il mondo non per la mancanza di compratori ma in funzione del fisiologico adeguamento dei bond all’aumento delle stime di inflazione. E questo è certamente un tema per chi in questo momento ha in pancia dei bond.
«I rischi per i governativi europei sono evidenti e risiedono in un ciclo economico molto forte che inizia a palesarsi in una ripresa dell’inflazione – spiega Fabrizio Santin, portfolio manager di Pictet asset management -. Il livello ancora molto basso dei rendimenti aumenta il tempo impiegato per recuperare perdite da rialzo dei tassi. Si tenga conto che un aumento di 50 punti base per un BTp con durata a 10 anni equivale a un calo del 5% sul prezzo, ovvero due anni per recuperare la perdita».
Sul pipeline Nord Stream 2 si embricano una multiforme serie di interessi non da poco.
Ma accanto ai grandi interessi, ve ne sono anche alcuni di microbica bottega, che però pesano.
L’ex-cancelliere Spd Schröder è attivo nel consiglio di amministrazione della società che gestisce il Nord Stream 1. Ma recentemente ha anche assunto un ruolo nel consiglio di amministrazione della Rosneft.
Ma si sa. C’è anche gente che si domanda perché lui due cariche ed altri nessuna.
Si pensi, tanto per fare un esempio, ad una cancelliera trombata alle elezioni ed in cerca di una tana sicura ove posare le ossa ad tre milioni l’anno. Ma servirebbe convincere prima Herr Schröder a dimettersi da un consiglio di amministrazione e quindi Mr Putin a concedere l’ambito seggio.
Ecco quindi che il Nord Stream 2 diventa immediatamente un progetto strategico per la Germania, ma anche con viva soddisfazione della Russia, tutta contenta nel constatare la dipendenza energetica della Germania.
Ma sul Nord Stream 2 vi sono anche altri appetiti.
«The German energy groups Uniper and Wintershall, Austria’s OMV, the Anglo-Dutch group Shell and France’s Engie have provided financial support to the 1,225-kilometer (760-mile) pipeline»
La Russia, in poche parole, non tirerebbe fuori un centesimo bucato, ma tedeschi, austriaci, olandesi e francesi sono su di una graticola non da poco: hanno preso impegni e versato le prime tranche e non stanno vedendo nulla indietro.
In questo momento Frau Merkel è al quarto mese di colloqui preliminari per appurare se poter quindi iniziare delle trattative per formare una eventuale Große Koalition. Senza un governo in carica, il Nord Stream 2 giace impotente: langue, generando perdite giorno dopo giorno.
Ma sono anche tempi grami da altri punti di vista.
«Beyond the key parliamentary budget committee … the chairmanships of the budget, legal affairs and tourism committees».
La Commissione Parlamentare per il Bilancio, unitamente a quella per gli affari legali sdaranno però chiamate ad esprimere pareri vincolanti sul Nord Stream 2, e corrono voci che tra Frau Merkel ed AfD non corra poi troppo buon sangue.
* * *
Orbene, tanto per cacciare ancora un po’ di benzina sul fuoco, Mr Tillerson e Mr Czaputowicz si son visti ed hanno parlato del più e del meno.
«The top diplomats from both countries want to limit Russian gas — in part because it gives Moscow political influence»
«But energy sales also drive the economy, which helps the Kremlin finance foreign military ventures»
«Like Poland, the United States opposes the Nord Stream 2 pipeline …. We share the view that it is necessary to diversify energy supplies into Europe»
* * * * * * * *
Il discorso non farebbe una piega se Mr Tillerson non avesse tenuto una famiglia di volpi sotto le ascelle.
Formalmente, nulla da eccepire.
Ma a pensar male si fa peccato anche se spesso ci si azzecca.
Fatto si è che le società petrolifere ed energetiche russe non sono mica dello stato russo: sono proprietà del Kremlin, che gestisce gli utili a piacer suo. Ed il Kremlin ha uno sguardo di tutto riguardo per gli armamenti.
Questa è anche la spiegazione di come faccia la Federazione Russa a mantenere delle forze armate quali quelle che ha con il modestissimo budget a bilancio statale: sessantasei miliardi di dollari americani.
A questo punto dovrebbe essere evidente la manovra che Mr Tillerson sta portando avanti dietro ordine del Presidente Trump.
Nulla nella vita reale è semplice né riducibile a slogan.
The top diplomats from both countries want to limit Russian gas — in part because it gives Moscow political influence. But energy sales also drive the economy, which helps the Kremlin finance foreign military ventures.
Secretary of State Rex Tillerson expressed the US’s support for Poland’s position after meeting his counterpart, Foreign Minister Jacek Czaputowicz, in Warsaw.
“Like Poland, the United States opposes the Nord Stream 2 pipeline,” Tillerson said during a news conference with Czaputowicz. “We see it as undermining Europe’s overall energy security and stability and providing Russia yet another tool to politicize energy as a political tool.”
Tillerson added: “Our opposition is driven by our mutual strategic interests.”
The undersea pipeline would be the second to deliver Russian gas directly to Western Europe via the Baltic Sea, bypassing the traditional land route through Ukraine and Poland.
“We share the view that it is necessary to diversify energy supplies into Europe,” Czaputowicz said.
Russia still provides two-thirds of Poland’s gas supply, but Warsaw started importing liquefied natural gas from the United States last year in its own bid to diversify its fuel supplies.
Closer military ties
Tillerson encouraged other European countries to follow suit and also voiced support for a pipeline connecting Poland and Norway, which Warsaw is developing with the aim of further limiting its dependency on Russia.
Poland, which spent four decades under Soviet rule, has been an EU member since 2004. Many officials consider Russia an existential threat, particularly after Moscow seized the Crimean Peninsula from neighboring Ukraine in 2014.
Poland’s northern neighbors — Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia — are also alarmed by Moscow’s aggression and Europe’s dependency on Russian energy supplies. But Germany and Austria have focused on the commercial benefits of importing cheap gas from Russia.
Separately, Tillerson and Czaputowicz pledged to enhance military cooperation, including increasing the US’s military presence — which currently numbers 5,000 across two separate missions related directly to the US and to NATO — in Poland.
“The stationing of American troops on our territory gives us, the Poles, a sense of security, and we are grateful for that,” Czaputowicz said. “We want this presence to be even bigger, and we want it to be permanent.”
«The flow of Venezuelan heavy crude oil to U.S. Gulf Coast refineries dropped by 60 percent in the first three weeks of January»
«Shipments had been averaging around a million barrels a day, but they dropped to 394,000 bpd since the first of the year»
«The problem with socialism is that you eventually run out of other peoples’ money» [Margaret Thatcher]
«This is one of the worst collapses in history. It happened without an invasion like in Iraq, the breakup of a country like in the Soviet Union, or a civil war like in Libya»
«This has forced all three credit rating agencies to declare Venezuela in default»
«Inflation of his country’s currency has just been reported by the International Monetary Fund (IMF) to be 13,000 percent, causing the price of a cup of coffee to double between the time when it is ordered and when the bill to pay for it arrives»
«Socialism is a philosophy of failure, the creed of ignorance, and the gospel of envy. It’s inherent virtue is the equal sharing of misery»
* * * * * * * *
Il Venezuela è strategico per gli Stato Uniti, ma anche per la Cina e per la Russia.
Essendo ideologizzato, Mr Maduro non ha saputo approfittare del periodo di requie che gli era stato fornito da Russia e Cina, che avevano pagato diverse volte in sua vece interessi e refusioni.
Senza radicali riforme interne, il destino del Venezuela sembrerebbe essere segnato.
The flow of Venezuelan heavy crude oil to U.S. Gulf Coast refineries dropped by 60 percent in the first three weeks of January, according to data from the U.S. Energy Information Agency (EIA). Shipments had been averaging around a million barrels a day, but they dropped to 394,000 bpd since the first of the year.
This adds to Marxist Nicolas Maduro’s financial woes, and none too soon, either. He has been relying on cash generated by those exports to continue to keep his regime in power. But now, in the famous words of Great Britain’s former Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher, “The problem with socialism is that you eventually run out of other peoples’ money.”
For Maduro “eventually” is upon him and his totalitarian dictatorship.
The news from the EIA is welcome but not surprising. Reuters reported two weeks ago that Venezuela’s crude production last year fell by 13 percent from the year before, hitting a 28-year low. This follows a six-year decline in production that tracks closely with the imposition of “Chavism,” the political ideology that wealth can be created through government edict rather than capital investment.
For a while it looked like it was working. Revenues from Venezuela’s vast crude oil reserves (among the world’s largest) allowed Hugo Chavez to expand greatly Venezuela’s welfare state, resulting in socialists around the globe declaring his country an economic miracle. But then oil revenues started declining, and Hugo Chavez died in 2013. Nicolas Maduro (a former bus driver and union organizer) took over and proceeded to run this economic “miracle” into the ground.
That country’s implosion has accelerated to the point where even statist economists can no longer deny it. Rice University professor Francisco Mondaldi, who predictably holds degrees in political science from Stanford and in international economics from Yate, told Reuters, “This is one of the worst collapses in history. It happened without an invasion like in Iraq, the breakup of a country like in the Soviet Union, or a civil war like in Libya.”
The litany of socialist destruction in Venezuela has been covered widely by The New American and elsewhere, which includes Maduro’s de facto bankruptcy through his inability even to service the interest payments on his country’s $150 billion external debt. This has forced all three credit rating agencies to declare Venezuela in default. His socialist policies have forced his country’s economic output to be cut in half since 2013, further impoverishing his serfs. That impoverishment has been reflected in the “wasting” index — an index that measures an individual’s height compared to his weight — which is hitting new highs.
Inflation of his country’s currency has just been reported by the International Monetary Fund (IMF) to be 13,000 percent, causing the price of a cup of coffee to double between the time when it is ordered and when the bill to pay for it arrives.
It appears to be just a matter of time — perhaps a matter of weeks — when Maduro’s madness will come to end. There is speculation about a military coup, an outside intervention by CIA operatives, or pressure from the country’s neighbors, which may escalate from rhetoric by U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson that is expected during his trip to South America this week.
But credit must finally be given to U.S. crude oil refineries for cutting the flow of Venezuelan heavy crude, and Maduro’s resultant cash flow, in favor of other more reliable sources such as Mexico and Canada for the same product. It isn’t politics that forced those refineries to cut their imports, but simple economics: They needed a dependable, reliable, steady source of crude and, thanks to Maduro’s military takeover of his state-owned energy company PdVSA, it cannot provide it. Instead, its employees are leaving as a result of the company no longer being able to pay them, and they’re taking with them valuable supplies and equipment to sell on the black market to feed themselves and their families.
As Winston Churchill said, “Socialism is a philosophy of failure, the creed of ignorance, and the gospel of envy. It’s inherent virtue is the equal sharing of misery.” That misery will hopefully shortly come to an end, thanks partly to economic decisions by U.S. Gulf Coast refineries to do business elsewhere.
In Germania è in corso una strenua battaglia a favore del ricongiungimento dei parenti con gli immigrati clandestini.
Si fa un gran parlare di motivi umanitari: si sarebbe forse così duri di cuore? Vergogna!
Spd, Herr Schulz, e tutte le ngo operanti in Germania stanno piangendo caldissime lacrime su quei poveracci, che quei mostri senza cuore di Alternative für Deutschland vorrebbero cacciar via a pedate perché sono omofobi, razzisti, e, diciamolo francamente nazionalsocialisti.
* * * * * * *
Mai credere al buon cuore della socialdemocrazia e delle organizzazioni non governative di Mr Soros.
Leggetevi per bene le fotocopie accluse.
Un ‘marocchino’ penetra in Germania in una qualche maniera.
Lì viene accolto a braccia aperte dalle organizzazioni umanitarie, che gli forniscono consulenza. L’Spd ha anche lei le sue organizzazioni ‘caritative‘.
È subito avviata la pratica per il ricongiungimento umanitario, che avrà copertura politica dall’Spd e, nel caso, dai magistrati liberal e socialisti.
Arrivano in Germania moglie e figli, e scattano immediatamente le previdenze, a suo tempo votate grazie al buon cuore dei socialdemocratici e su istanza della ‘società civile‘, terminologia in codice che indica quei quattro gatti delle ngo.
Quando arriva in tasca al ‘marocchino‘?.
* * * * * * *
Per dovere di cronaca si dovrebbe dire che non tutto resta al ‘marocchino‘.
Socialdemocratici ed ngo, che tanto si sono prodigate, si fanno versare tremila euro il partito e duemila euro le ngo, sottobanco, in nero.
Al ‘marocchino‘ restano pur sempre 2,300 euro che si aggiungono alle altre previdenze e benefit, quali per esempio casa ed utenze gratuite.
Moltiplicate il tutto per i milioni di immigrati arrivati.
Adesso dovreste essere in grado di capire su cosa stia discutendo l’Spd con Frau Merkel.
Adesso dovreste sapere perché mai le ngo strillano come aquilotti affamati, insaziabili.
E pensate anche che quei maledetti di AfD non vorrebbero pagare le tasse.
Nella vita abbiamo incontrato molte persone abbiette. Ma socialdemocratici ed incardinati nelle ngo superano tutti i limiti.
Sarebbe impossibile tentare di ottenere un quadro obbiettivo senza aver acquisito tutte le possibili fonti: un po’ come durante un processo si sente l’accusa, sicuramente, ma anche e soprattutto la difesa.
La via della ricerca di cosa possa essere considerato essere vero è lunga, difficile, piena di insidie, e gli errori sono la norma: il problema non è tanto il non fare errori, quanto almeno cercare di non rifare gli stessi.
L’India ha 1,335,250,000 abitanti: di questi il 79.8% sono di religione induista ed il 14.23% sono di religione islamica: i mussulmani sono quindi centonovanta milioni. I mussulmani costituiscono la maggioranza nel Jammu e Kashmir e nelle Laccadive, mentre formano grosse minoranze negli Stati di Uttar Pradesh (30 milioni, circa un quinto della popolazione), Bihar (13 milioni e mezzo, un sesto della popolazione), Bengala Occidentale (un quarto della popolazione), Assam (poco meno di un terzo) e Kerala (un quarto). Jammu e Kashmir sono regioni con grandi tensioni sociali e militari, alimentate anche da interventi stranieri. Come solitamente accade in simili circostanze, tutte le parti contendenti cercano di utilizzare le religioni per i loro fini di bassa bottega.
In India è in corso un movimento legislativo e giurisprudenziale che tende a ridimensionare gli effetti di alcune applicazioni prima tollerate della Sharia in campo matrimoniale.
La antica costumanza del ripudio, divorzio rapido, è stata sanzionata dapprima con leggi e quindi con sentenze di tribunale.
Da una parte si dichiara di voler salvaguardare i diritti delle donne in accordo ad una certa quale corrente di pensiero occidentale, dall’altra di voler criminalizzare gli islamici.
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«These days, a popular joke making the rounds in India is that the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) loves Muslim women, but not Muslim men»
«The joke makes fun of BJP’s attempts to portray its rightwing Prime Minister Narendra Modi as a crusader against religious orthodoxy, seeking to liberate Muslim women from the clutches of patriarchy»
«The BJP started crafting this narrative in August last year, after India’s Supreme Court banned “triple talaq”, or instant divorce, practised by some in the Muslim community»
«Four months after the Supreme Court decision, India’s BJP-controlled lower house of parliament passed a bill that seeks to criminalise the practice»
«If the bill is voted into law, men found guilty of divorcing their wives through “triple talaq” could face jail time of up to three years»
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«The governing party believes it will deter men from resorting to the practice, and credits Modi for having the “courage” to reform Muslim personal law and challenge patriarchy»
«But it was easy for many Indian Muslims to see the hypocrisy in this claim»
«the contents of the bill led many to believe that it was put together not to help Muslim women, but further criminalise Muslim men – it allows anyone, not only the wife, to lodge a complaint, and requires the husband to pay maintenance to his wife even while he is imprisoned»
«throughout his tenure as India’s prime minister, Modi has done nothing to challenge patriarchal practices affecting Hindu (and other) women»
«His party has opposed, for example, the criminalisation of marital rape, which according to BJP functionaries, “cannot be suitably applied in the Indian context”.»
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Dovrebbero essere abbastanza chiari alcuni elementi.
– In India è in corso una lotta aspra tra componente induista, sulla quale l’attuale governo poggia la sua base elettorale, e quella mussulmana, in gran parte avversa al governo Modi.
– Tutta una lunga serie di assunti al momento in gran voga in Occidente sono alieni alla mentalità indiana: “cannot be suitably applied in the Indian context“. Tuttavia nulla vieta di utilizzarli in parte, secondo convenienza.
Questi fatti dovrebbero indurci ad una considerazione generale che trascende i fatti riportati.
Bene o male, piaccia o non piaccia, ogni popolo ha un suo retaggio religioso, storico, culturale che lo caratterizza anche quando non sia formalmente espresso ed anche quando esso sia formalmente ed attivamente contrastato.
Le azioni fatte in questo settore costituiscono invariabilmente azioni alle quali seguono controreazioni eguali e contrarie. Non sempre la reazione è temporalmente immediata: spesso anzi si slatentizza dopo un certo quale tempo, ma nessun statista dovrebbe mai ignorare questo fenomeno.
Non sono rinvenibili nella storia statisti che non abbiano recepito ed onorato le tradizioni popolari.
Casi da manuale sono il comportamento dei romani, che inglobavano intere provincie in un impero che accentrava politica estera, difesa e, parzialmente, le finanze, oppure l’impero cinese, che aveva adottato eguale comportamento. Né romani né cinesi si sognarono mai di imporre la propria religione. Sono imperi durati migliaia di anni. Una lezione storica che non dovrebbe essere dimenticata.
«Back in the 1950s, Hindu personal laws were reformed by the central government, but those of Muslims were left untouched. The Congress party – heading the government at that time – took this decision because, following the bloody partition riots of 1947, it did not want to appear to be interfering in the religious practices of India’s minorities»
These days, a popular joke making the rounds in India is that the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) loves Muslim women, but not Muslim men.
The joke makes fun of BJP’s attempts to portray its rightwing Prime Minister Narendra Modi as a crusader against religious orthodoxy, seeking to liberate Muslim women from the clutches of patriarchy.
The BJP started crafting this narrative in August last year, after India’s Supreme Court banned “triple talaq”, or instant divorce, practised by some in the Muslim community. Four months after the Supreme Court decision, India’s BJP-controlled lower house of parliament passed a bill that seeks to criminalise the practice. If the bill is voted into law, men found guilty of divorcing their wives through “triple talaq” could face jail time of up to three years.
The governing party believes it will deter men from resorting to the practice, and credits Modi for having the “courage” to reform Muslim personal law and challenge patriarchy.
But it was easy for many Indian Muslims to see the hypocrisy in this claim.
First of all, the bill was, at least in part, the result of decades of campaigning by Muslim women’s groups and victims against the practice. Also, the contents of the bill led many to believe that it was put together not to help Muslim women, but further criminalise Muslim men – it allows anyone, not only the wife, to lodge a complaint, and requires the husband to pay maintenance to his wife even while he is imprisoned.
Second, throughout his tenure as India’s prime minister, Modi has done nothing to challenge patriarchal practices affecting Hindu (and other) women. His party has opposed, for example, the criminalisation of marital rape, which according to BJP functionaries, “cannot be suitably applied in the Indian context”.
Modi is yet to speak out in defence of Hindu women dragged into the “love jihad” frenzy within some Hindu communities.
Hindu groups allege that “love jihad” is a conspiracy by Muslim men to lure Hindu women into marriages with Muslims, with the sole aim of converting them to Islam. Occasionally, they claim that radical Muslim groups are behind “love jihad”.
Late in December last year, in the city of Ghaziabad, near New Delhi, Hindu activists clashed with police while protesting the marriage of a Muslim man and a Hindu woman, which they claimed was an act of “love jihad”.
The bride’s family insisted that the marriage was consensual, but BJP officials claimed that the families had not received “permission” to hold an inter-religious marriage, and it was a case of “forced conversion”. The bride hadn’t converted to Islam before the marriage, but they did not seem to care.
Even if she did, the couple did not need to ask for anyone’s permission to get married, as the Indian constitution allows the country’s citizens to convert to another religion. They were married under the Special Marriage Act, under which inter-faith couples can marry without converting. But this does not deter Hindu fundamentalists from targeting inter-faith couples and harassing – even violently attacking – any Muslim man who enters into a relationship with a Hindu woman.
Also in December, this time in Rajasamand, Rajasthan, 36-year-old Shambhulal Regar hacked a 50-year old Muslim man named Afrazul and burned his body for allegedly attempting to commit “love jihad”. Regar claimed he killed Afrazul “to save a Hindu woman from becoming a victim of “love jihad”. The police later discovered that Regar mistook Afrazul for another Muslim man, who allegedly had an affair with the woman.
The campaign against “love jihad” continues to get more brutal with each passing day. In January, three Muslim brothers were beaten at a court in Baghpat, Uttar Pradesh – simply because one of them wanted to marry a Hindu woman. The assailants belonged to the Vishva Hindu Parishad, an affiliate of the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS), the parent body of the BJP.
According to RSS-supported Hindu fundamentalists, a Muslim man’s love for a Hindu girl cannot be real. It has to be fake. It has to be an attempt to convert an innocent girl to Islam, recruit her for a “terror” group, or even transform India into a Muslim country.
These claims, and Prime Minister Modi’s telling silence on the issue, are fanning paranoia about Muslims in India. This paranoia is also hurting, and even killing, Hindu women that the proponents of the “love jihad” myth are allegedly trying to protect.
Targeting Hindu women
Earlier this month, in the southwestern state of Karnataka, a 20-year-old Hindu woman named Dhanyashree was driven to suicide by Hindu fundamentalists over a single photograph.
Her WhatsApp profile photograph was closely cropped with only her eyes showing against a black background. It created the illusion that she was wearing a veil. Members of the Bharatiya Janata Yuva Morcha, BJP’s youth wing, demanded that she remove the photograph.
She was harassed and rumours were started that she was in a relationship with a Muslim boy. Unable to bear it, she committed suicide.
BJP officials, rather than seeking justice for Dhanyashree – as they allegedly do for Muslim victims of triple talaq – chose to defend the men who precipitated her suicide.
A BJP leader from Chikmagalur, C T Ravi, told Indian media, “What has happened in the Dhanyashree case is unfortunate. A worker of the BJP, Anil, has been arrested for it. But he has not done anything criminal; he has not committed any murder. He was just trying to inform the girl’s family about the dangers of Love Jihad, which has claimed so many Hindu girls. His intention was not to provoke her to suicide.”
Dhanyashree is not the only woman victim of India’s “love jihad” insanity. Across India, many other Hindu women are being victimised for their relationships with Muslim men.
The alleged ISIL connection
In August last year, Akhila, a Hindu girl from Kerala, who shared a flat with two Muslim sisters, converted to Islam, changed her name to Hadiya and married a Muslim man.
The Kerala high court nullified the marriage, after the woman’s father filed a petition alleging that his daughter converted to Islam as part of a plan to send her to Syria, to join the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL, also known as ISIS).
The high court said the girl was “weak and vulnerable” and susceptible to exploitation, and that “marriage being the most important decision in her life, can also be taken only with the active involvement of her parents”. She was ordered to return to live with her parents.
Hadiya’s husband went in appeal to the Supreme Court, which ordered the National Investigation Agency (NIA), a federal counter-terror outfit, to probe inter-faith marriages, including hers. Subsequently, a three-member bench of Supreme Court summoned Hadiya and inquired what she wanted. Hadiya replied, “I want to go with my husband. Nobody forced me to convert.” She also expressed apprehensions that her parents wouldn’t allow her to continue with her studies. The Supreme Court allowed Hadiya to return to her college.
On January 23, the three-member bench further refined its position to say it could do little even if Hadiya had been “brainwashed”. It added, “Whether it’s an independent choice or not, only she knows. We can’t get into it. If she comes to court and says she married by choice, that’s the end of it.”
However, the NIA is to continue probing all other aspects of “love jihad” and is said to be probing 90 inter-faith marriages involving Muslims in Kerala.
Kerala has been in the eye of controversy since 2016, when a 21-member group, including a few recent converts, left their respective hometowns to join ISIL. Hindu right-wing groups have been using this incident as a tool to criminalise all inter-faith marriages and infantilise any Hindu women who appear to have relations with Muslim men, by claiming that these women have been “tricked” or “brainwashed”.
Women’s rights promotion as a facade
The BJP and Modi’s liberal line on Muslim women’s rights is nothing but a salve for a grievance that they have nursed and publicised, for their own interests, for decades.
Back in the 1950s, Hindu personal laws were reformed by the central government, but those of Muslims were left untouched. The Congress party – heading the government at that time – took this decision because, following the bloody partition riots of 1947, it did not want to appear to be interfering in the religious practices of India’s minorities.
But Hindu groups claimed that the Congress refused to reform Muslim personal laws in order to garner Muslim votes. This made Hindus feel discriminated against, in a country where they are the majority. Today, for many Hindus, the criminalisation of triple talaq is a step towards righting this historical wrong. And Modi is now using this historical grievance to increase the support he has among India’s Hindus.
The prime minister knows that India’s Muslims did not vote for him in the past and they are not likely to vote for him in the future. All he is trying to do is to make his base – Hindu nationalists – happy. It has nothing to do with his respect for Muslim women or women’s rights.
«L’Assia (in tedesco Hessen) è uno dei sedici stati federati della Germania. Ha una superficie di 21.114 km² e circa sei milioni di abitanti. La capitale è Wiesbaden. ….
Sede della Banca centrale europea, della Bundesbank e della borsa di Francoforte, l’Assia è la principale regione finanziaria dell’Europa continentale. Inoltre è uno dei Land più prosperi di Germania ….
La parte del Land in prossimità del Meno è la regione industriale più importante in Germania, dopo la regione metropolitana Reno-Ruhr. Le principali industrie della regione sono chimiche e farmaceutiche, rappresentate da Sanofi-Aventis, Merck KGaA, Heraeus, Messer Griesheim e Degussa. A Rüsselsheim si trovano quartier generale e maggiore stabilimento dell’Opel, l’avamposto della General Motors in Europa continentale. Francoforte sul Meno ospita il principale aeroporto intercontinentale tedesco, la Banca centrale europea, la banca federale e la borsa valori, ma anche altre importanti banche tedesche tra cui Commerzbank, KfW Bank e DZ Bank.» [Fonte]
Il 28 ottobre 2018 gli Elettori dell’Assia saranno chiamati alle urne per eleggere il nuovo governo del Land.
Inutile dire come queste elezioni, unitamente a quelle da tenersi in Baviera quasi nello stesso tempo, consentano di avere un ottimo campione di giudizio del quadro politico tedesco. L’Assia ha infatti 6,045,425 abitanti e la Baviera ne ha 12,930,751. Diciannove milioni di Elettori esprimeranno il loro parere.
Nel contempo, le prospezioni elettorali servono sia per valutare il gradimento attuale dei partiti in questi giorni cruciali per la eventuale formazione di un nuovo governo, sia per avere ulteriori elementi per valutare la attendibilità delle previsioni fatte.
Per quanto riguarda l’Assia, le ultime prospezioni sarebbero queste.
La Cdu scenderebbe dal 38.3% all’attuale 31%, la Spd scenderebbe dal pregresso 30.7% al 25%, mentre AfD salirebbe dal 4.1% al 12%.
Se queste proiezioni si confermassero, non sarebbe un risultato entusiasmante per i partiti della Große Koalition. In particolare, la crescita di AfD al 12% nel Land della Banca Centrale Europea non suonerebbe di buon auspicio per l’attuale dirigenza politica dei partiti tradizionali tedeschi.